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love filter
My son is of the age where he's getting his first scabs from being a boy. He's all boy, this little peanut of mine, and his mother, though happy to have him want to be like his daddy, she's a bit concerned about the trend of also living perpetually scuffed, scraped and abraded.

The only tie-in to the river is this, and I'll be brief: it was on the river where I became immune to worrying over open wounds and strawberries the size of eggplant. The same magic the river asserted over its visitors allowing for increased alcohol consumption and a reduced need for sleep, caused a ramped up auto-immune response that healed those scrapes and scuffs quickly--I swear it--or maybe we just didn't pay any attention. A scab grows on the spot and then must be removed, that's how I think it works.

So, the other night when my eldest sister came to visit and have dinner at Fins my wife told Colleen about my scabbiness and tendency towards being a consumate and fastidious picker. She called me Scabby. My wife called me Scabby, with a smile and then a pat, pat, pat on the head, kissing me on the cheek as though I were a sad boy who tried hard and always seemed to miss the mark. I knew she meant it with love and care and that gentle teasing that warms me each time her palm lands--pat, pat, pat--on my head.

The loose ends are just there, though. A healing takes place and then the ruffled edge lifts from the skin at the perimeter and BAM! The next thing you know I've got a fingernail under it, lifting gently, prying, looking furtively from side to side to assess whether or not someone might be judging, begrudging, or otherwise eyeballing my work. I've considered depositing my harvest in the coffee or biscuit belonging to such oppressive, judgemental eyes, but I have not. Not yet. The need to flatten out what was lumped up, and to remove the offensive outgrowth gnaws at me in the same way blueberry season draws me to break the law in my neighbor's yard filling a bucket with berries under the summer's moonlight in my socks and underwear.

After dissing my scabbiness and enjoying her fabulous sea bass, during a light dessert of a sorbet assortment presented like brilliant marbles in a martini glass, my dearest told my sister about the story of my falling out spot. When we were first dating I asked Traci about this spot on the side of my head where, I swear, I once pushed hard on it for like, thirty seconds and passed out cold.

The truth about the spot is this, or at least I think it goes like this. I was drinking pretty heavily one night, alone and silly the way drinking alone can make me. Caiparinhas, I believe, was the drink that brought on a sudden probing with my thumb at a raised muscle on the side of my head. You see, I'd shaved my head a day earlier and suddenly the jaw muscles that had been covered by my peroxide tortured locks stood out like wings from the side of my head. The muscles on the side of my head--everyone has them--go ahead and feel just above your ear while clenching your jaw...there ya' go...those muscles seemed unusually large, and the bulging muscle on my right side actually showed up larger, or so I thought, looking drunk in the mirror at my white dome.

I pushed, obsessively with the thumb of my right hand. My left hand was holding a tumbler full of Penga, limes and sugar. I pushed and it hurt, so I pushed harder. It hurt more. I took a drink and pushed harder and then I woke up and the sun was coming up.

What happened was that more than likely the muscle controlling my jaw spasmed and the resultant pain hastened my arrival into the coma I was working towards twelve ounces at a time. I asked Traci about it early on because I was always curious if there was some magic nerve or if I had a secret falling out spot that I could use to incapacitate myself in the case of free Michael Flatley tickets. She looked at me with that same kind incredulity, perhaps that was the first look of pat, pat, pat kindness and love even though we had recently started dating.

Colleen and Traci had a good laugh over my falling out spot. Both of them are health professionals with great, huge hearts and compassion to spare. They laughed and gave me the look, the pat, pat, pat look.

Tonight I reached up and pressed on the spot, picking a dried scab from a scrape received last week above my ear from a branch in the woods.

"Are you pressing your falling out spot?" She had that look in her eye.

"No," I said. "I can't believe you still went out with me after that story..."

She stopped me from saying anything more, patting me on the head.

"Honey," she smiled, "blame it on the love filter."

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post #37
bio: nate

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